Everything Detroit – Fueled By Celsius Essential Energy Drinks

Everything Detroit – Fueled By Celsius Essential Energy Drinks

I’d like to introduce you to Cheska Sparks. I met Cheska through my friends at the Struggle Within Michigan Metallica fan club. When I saw on her socials that she was going to all these shows across the country, I thought that might be an interesting story for ‘Tallica fans across the world to see.

I emailed Cheska some general questions about her travels, and here are her responses.

metallica

rob

  • When did She discover metallica

    “I wish I could say that my love affair with Metallica began in the 80’s and early 90’s. My date of birth (and fairly strict upbringing) pushed my love (obsession?) for them to the mid 90’s. I do recall hearing Metallica for the first time when the stoner kids would blast “Enter Sandman” on their boomboxes after school. At that point I was still obsessed with New Kids on the Block and in full transparency, wanted nothing to do with the type of music that required the ability to play an instrument.”

    She went on “Fast forward to middle school along with matured musical tastes and preferences. I recall seeing the “Until It Sleeps” video on MTV. I was instantly intrigued; immediately began exploring the rest of their discography, and got tickets shortly thereafter to see them on the Poor Touring Me tour.”

    Metallica

  • How many metallica shows has she been to this year?

    Cheska told me she purchased the 2023 and 2024 ‘I Disappear’ passes which enables her to go to all of the North American shows. “I have seen five of the U.S. shows thus far and have four more to go this year including St. Louis and our hometown shows in November. The U.S. tour began in East Rutherford, New Jersey the first weekend of August. I went to both the Friday and Sunday shows.”

    “Next up for the U.S. was the Arlington, Texas shows, where again I went to both the Friday and Sunday shows. Then came the Phoenix, Arizona shows where, unfortunately, the Sunday show was canceled due to James getting Covid. The show was rescheduled for the following weekend, but unfortunately, I was unable to travel that weekend due to work conflicts.” 

    She explained why she wanted to see all these shows “The draw for going to both shows (in the same city) was the completely unique setlists each night. In addition, two different bands would be the opening acts for each night – Friday being Mammoth WVH and Pantera, and Sunday being Ice Nine Kills and Five Finger Death Punch.”

    There is one show she’s really bummed she missed. “I regretfully did not attend the Los Angeles shows where none other than Jason Momoa, a self-professed “huge Metallica fan, spent time in the Snake Pit moshing with other fans.”

    Chris from FFDP

    Metallica

  • Cheska gives her highlights from the shows she's seen

    “One of the big highlights of this tour for me has been that the band is playing “in the round”. Stadium shows are typically played at one end of the venue which makes for a very large stage.  Depending on your arrival time to the show, you can end up being pretty far back from the stage. One of the benefits of the stage being in the round is you are typically able to get a better viewing spot no matter what time you arrive.”

    She added that it gives the fans more of a chance to move around the floor for better vantage points of the band. “For the two 40th shows in December of ‘21, friends and I were able to arrive within 30 minutes of Metallica going on stage, and for each show, we secured a spot about five people back from the rail as seen below.”

    James

    She did say that there are some drawbacks to the bigger shows as well. One thing, the size of the stadiums they’re playing are huge. “The actual physical stage is larger than arena shows as well, but there is a lot more open space surrounding the stage. More space equals more fans you are competing with (friendly competition of course), and you definitely have to take this into consideration when deciding what time to get to the shows.”

    We all know how pleasantly fanatical some of us fans can be, which means many people are willing to wait in line for north of 12 hours to secure a good spot. One of the benefits of having the ‘I Disappear’ passes is that we get early entrance into the venue behind the “Frantic” ticket holders.  There are definitely some advantages to securing a good spot.”

  • "Working" for the band can get you upgraded as well

    “Another highlight this year so far is that I was able to get Snake Pit passes for two of the shows. One was gifted by a friend, and the other was given as an incentive to commit to working for about six hours handing out the Metallica Fan Cards to fans as they walked into the stadium.”

    She explained the cards – The Fan Cards are handed out at the shows and can be scanned to either win a Snake Pit pass opportunity or an autographed skate deck. This also provided the opportunity to have a mini backstage tour and eat with some of the crew in the designated catering area. 

     

    Cheska

    Cheska “working” for the band handing out Metallica Fan Club cards.

    Metallica

    The calm before the Metallica Storm.

  • Which city had the best shows?

    “As far as which city was the best, I think that the New Jersey shows (being the first U.S. shows on this tour) were top-notch because it was the first time for me getting to see some of the new songs performed. Texas was HOT. So hot! Waiting outside in temperatures hovering above 110 Fahrenheit was brutal. By the time a lot of us made it into the venue most of our energy was zapped from our time outside in the heat and humidity.”

    She also spoke to the Phoenix shows.  “The Friday Phoenix show had some challenges with James being under the weather which resulted in an unexpectedly shortened setlist and of course, the Sunday show being rescheduled. So, yes, I think New Jersey offered up the best show(s).”

    Pantera

    Phil Anselmo from Pantera performing before Metallica at one of the Friday night shows.

     

     

  • Highlights from the setlist and opening bands

    Cheska recalled a show she went to last year. “I attended last year’s All Within My Hands charity concert in Los Angeles where they debuted “Lux Æterna” off their latest album (72 Seasons). “

    As for this year, she had this to say. “Getting to hear more of the songs off of 72 Seasons and appreciating how they transition from album to stage has been a highlight for sure. I really love the live grungy, heavy sound of “You Must Burn!” (I’m pretty sure I’ve just upset some people with that comparison, my apologies).”

    “As far as openers, I was thrilled when I heard Pantera would be opening for the Friday shows. I never got to see them perform while the Abbott brothers were still with us (RIP). Pantera definitely brings headliner energy, and they have a very present fan base. With Arlington being their home shows I also went and visited the cemetery where Dimebag and Vinnie Paul are buried. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find where they were laid to rest, but the number of other fans (in town for the Metallica shows) led the way.”

    dime

    The final resting place of “Dime” and V.P..

     

  • How many times has she met the Metallica guys?

    She told me about the first time she got to meet the legends. “I was fortunate enough to do the ‘Dream No More’ Meet and Greet package in 2019. This package included one on one time with each band member, a group photo, a signed setlist, and a show-specific poster and guitar pick. We were also able to bring items in to get autographed by the band if we wanted. Having never met any of them prior, and at that point being a fan for over 20 years, it was the experience of a lifetime.

    I’m sure you are wondering what the price tag was for this opportunity, and it was a lofty $2,499 per ticket. WORTH EVERY PENNY! I got to see Rob again later that year at a Blackened Whiskey signing event in Chicago.

    MEtallica

    Cheska with the Metallica guys in 2019.

  • other Personal experiences with Metallica

    “Perhaps I am delusional (or Delulu as the kids of today say), but I truly think the band goes out of its way to recognize and acknowledge fans who attend multiple shows. Rob will nod and smile at fans he recognizes in the audience. He pointed me out at one show when James said that he saw a “lot of familiar faces in the audience.  Kirk has winked and smiled at me (and my friends) at multiple shows as well.”

    Cheska went on. “At Lollapalooza last year James kneeled in front of me and a couple of friends (who also attend multiple shows) and performed for a bit. At the next show we went to shortly thereafter he leaned down, shook my hand, and said “Thanks for coming out again”. I think receiving this sort of personal attention enhances the overall concert experience and absolutely makes us feel appreciated.”

    In her mind, the Metallica family is a real family. “Another highlight of going to multiple shows is getting to hang out with all of the other traveling fans that you have befriended and become close to over the years. Until S&M 2,  I was truly unaware of the magnitude of the camaraderie amongst the Metallica Family. As with other tours, the takeover weekend events and planned get-togethers (some hosted by the Metallica Local Chapters) have been a blast and great for catching up. The Phoenix chapter, The SunForgiven hosted a phenomenal party for the Phoenix shows complete with a haboob that came through and sandblasted everyone and everything in its path giving us nonlocals a memory that will remain. In addition, they even collaborated with a brewing company and created a lager appropriately named The SunForgiven Raspberry Lager with artwork created by none other than Tony Squindo!”

    cheska

  • Thank You, Cheska! You Rock!

    Thanks for sharing your Metallica summer with the WRIF listeners, Cheska. I’m sure we’ll see you at the shows in Detroit!

    cheska

    Yes, following Metallica all around the country can be exhausting!

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